August 23, 1863
The bombardment of Sumter still continues terrific. The Parrot Guns from the land batteries had up to Thursday night struck Sumter two thousand five hundred times! The missiles are 200 lb balls, eight in in diameter & two ft long with a flat head of chilled iron. The shells are of the same dimensions. The southern face of Sumter is crumbling under this iron hail even tho the battery is distant 4620 yds — or two & five eights of a mile. It seems almost incredible, yet so it is. The Ironclads keep at a respectful distance from the fort. On Monday they withdrew with their flags at half mast, supposed for the death of some officer of high rank. Would that it was Dalgren himself! All noncombattants have been ordered to leave Charleston & it is determined to defend the place inch by inch & if neccessary destroy it rather than suffer it to fall in the hands of so barbarous a foe.
The French in Mexico are emulating the Yankees and Austrians in whipping women. A lady of the name of Rubio received 200 lashes for refusing to receive French officers into her house. Her husband offered her weight in silver to the French General to save her from it, but Gen Forey insisted on making an example of her. I warrant his nation will have self respect enough and decency to repudiate the act. It seems there are more Haynau’s than one in the world!
Father had a letter today from his sister Mrs Polk. The accounts she gives of the sufferings witnessed by an acquaintance of hers (a Mrs Butler — who went through the Yankee lines under a pass from Grant) of the negroes about Vicksburg are heart rending. She says for miles & miles the road was lined with them. The locks of the fences had been converted by means of boughs into rude shelters under which they lay on the ground dead & dying by scores. As she passed she was met by entreaties from the poor creatures that she would tell their masters to come & take them. One poor creature rushed in front of the horses, threw up his arms, and begged her for God’s sake to stop and listen to her. She did so and a tale of horror it was. Two of her children were dead & two more were dying on the ground in a corner of the fence! She begged that her master might be told of it. Why did you leave him? Why are you here? asked Mrs B. “O, Missis we didn’t leave! They drove us before them like hogs”!
A pestilence has been bred in Vicksburg & the whites are dying there at the rate of 300 a day. Negroes they take no account of. Starvation & death are emancipating them rapidly enough to suit that proto Abolitionist Wilberforce himself. What ignorance that man showed! He proves the wrong which can be done by a tender conscience when uninlightened. The negro race have philanthropy such as his to thank for an amount of suffering such as the world rarely showed before. A Puritanic desire to make all men conform to their Procrustian bed, see what it leads to. I preserve Mr Carlyle’s American Iliad in a Nut on the next page. There is keen satire in it.
Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979). http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html